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Apple trees in May: Heaven on Earth

Posted May 30 2011 12:44pm

May 30, 2011 by Danielle Charles

Cease, wild winds, O, cease to blow!
Apple-blossom, fluttering, flying,
Palely on the green turf lying,
Vanishing like winter snow;
Swift as joy to come and go.

~Mathilde Blind “Apple Blossom”

The apples have just finished their flowering here, and my heart is in mourning now that the last petals have fallen and their blaze of white and pink has begun to fade from the landscape. Their ethereal beauty is made all the more precious because it is so fleeting, and I have spent the last week trying to drink them in fully, extracting every last drop of joy that I could from their sight, their sweet fragrance, their song of humming bees. There are truly few sights in the world as heavenly as an apple in full bloom in the spring sunshine.

Love has always been closely interwoven into the symbolism of the apple tree, and one glance at their flowers gives a strong impression for why this is so. The immense beauty of the apple blossom, their sweetness and the way that they elevate the spirits and enrapture us are so much like falling in love, the transience of the state infusing every moment with a significance and intensity that makes one not want to miss a single moment.

And how beautiful and befitting then, that the ethereal flowers should then produce a sweet, earthy and nurturing fruit, just in the same way that the heightened state of intense passion one feels when first in love should develop into the sweet, nurturing bond of companionship.

But this process is not limited to romantic love, but to all forms of passion and love in our lives. It is that fundamental process of taking an experience of the divine, of complete love – a feeling of transcendence, ecstasy and revelation – and converting it into something workable and sustaining in the realm of the everyday. We do this with all the forms we experience love – from religion and romance to the creative inspiration that fuels our live’s calling.

The apple also has many associations with the divine. In Christianity, it’s thought that the Tree of Knowledge growing in Eden was an apple, and in Saxon myth, the apple tree was created by Iduna, the Goddess of Spring, to supply the Gods with its fruits offering eternal life. In England, there is the myth of the Isle of Avalon – the Celtic paradise or isle of the blessed  where the mythical King Arthur passes on his death. The name Avalon derives from the Welsh word for Apple (afallen), and while the island itself is said to be shrouded from our view, it is thought to be located on the same spot as the apple orchards of Glastonbury.

In all of these myths, there is the same theme: the apple tree offering a taste of the divine to us here on the earthly realm, an ability to experience a little “heaven on earth.”  When split in half, the apple reveals a 5-pointed star:

which is seen in many religions as a symbol for the divine. Five is a sacred number as there are 5 elements (earth, air, fire, water, ether) that comprise the universe, thus the star represents the unity from which those 5 elements derived – the oneness of all things. The apple blossom also has 5 petals.

Of course, humans have always struggled with the gift of the apple. The taste of the divine leaves us hungry for more, and we become so obsessed with the ecstasy and intensity of that glimpse into the divine that we fail to transform it into an earthly, workable thing. We want to stay at that level of spiritual intensity all the time, we can become addicted to it. We might become addicted to falling in love with others, to falling in love with ideas, to falling in love with a religious belief.  It feels as though anything less than that divine state is worthless. Everything pales in comparison.

I was pondering all of this as I made my apple blossom flower essence while the blooms where at their climax. The essence, I thought, must be for that very process of helping us transform our glimpses of the divine into the earthly realm, making them workable and usable in our lives. Bach writes of it being used ,

For those who feel as if they had something not quite clean about themselves.”

He describes the apple blossom person as being one with very high expectations about their body and environment, wanting things to be flawless, perfect. They often feel disgust in their physical bodies, have poor self-image, and are plagued with feelings of things being impure – from their environment and body to their very thoughts and desires.

All of this, to me,  seems to stem from that resistance to transform spirit into the earthly plane. When you are obsessed with feelings of spiritual elation, then you come to resent your physical body and world, feeling that it traps you and contaminates your ability to experience the pure divine. On another level, however, I think that people can also become insecure in their ability to transmit that spiritual knowledge to others, that they will somehow contaminate it in the process. So a person might have a spiritual experience, or feel the sensation of pure love or inspiration, but they are afraid to express it, to transform it into something workable, lest they ruin it or are rejected by others.

So, apple flower essence is for helping us use that glimpse into the divine to create something workable and usable in our lives, helping us become like the apple – serving as a medium for the divine to be present in earthly form. It is used for times when one is unable to convert a spiritual experience or sensation of love into something workable and real – either due to insecurity, or an obsessive attachment to the experience itself.  By removing these blockages, it helps us to let the divine flow through us freely, transforming our experience into the fruit which will nurture others in the realm of the everyday.  It allows us to experience Heaven on Earth.

So, while I do dearly mourn those flowers, I know that their lovely energy will be with me through the summer, working its way  through me until the fall brings the sweet delight of the apples.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Before I sign off, someone was very offended that his picture wasn’t taken for the last apple installment, as he spends far more time in the apple tree than his Sister, and politely asked (demanded) that his photo be taken for this post, as he has a particular fondness for apple blossoms – especially chasing them as they fall from the tree. And, as he pointed out himself, he really is the perfect metaphor for heaven on earth.

Taliesin demonstrates how to be heaven on earth


Posted in flower essences, Seasons, Spring, Tree year | 4 Comments

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  1. What a beautiful post with such gorgeous writing and photos. I was very inspired by your description of the apple blossom’s qualities, this emotional state being one I have struggled with in the past. When I first went on retreats and workshops I would always notice that, after the initial high wore off, i would feel really frustrated by ‘normal life’. A few years ago I read a wonderful book by Jack Kornfield called ‘After the Ecstasy, The Laundry’ which, though it may sound like a 1950′s manual on how to keep your husband happy, is actually about returning from states of bliss and incorporating the realisations you have had into daily life. Your post reminded me of it.
    Its great to see your apples again, I especially love the bark of apple trees.
    And what a noble and handsome fellow is Taliesin, truly a representative of the angelic realms!

    • on May 31, 2011 at 8:17 am | Reply Danielle Charles

      Lucinda,
      That book sounds just perfect (and I had to laugh at the potential for mistaking it as a guide for maintaining marital bliss :) ). I will have to add it to my ‘to read’ list, and I might even have to bump it up to the top because it sounds so pertinent. It reminds me of that Zen saying, “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” – or something like that. Taliesin is very pleased with your comments, he’s been looking quite proud of himself today :)

      XOXO
      D

  2. Another divine-ly inspired post that comes along when needed. I see myself in this one as well as the dandelion. :)

    I, too, feel like I can’t get enough of the apple blossoms, as well as those of the crab-apple (which are pink or rose-red in the Midwest where I live). They’re already gone, blown apart by the high winds hereabouts. :(

    With age, I have come to believe that things like the apple blossoms, fragrant herbs, colorful flowers, and tasty fruits are hints that we are loved by the Divine. The Creator could so easily have given us a gray, colorless world devoid of any joy. Sadly, we’ve been so conditioned to think this way, that God wants us to suffer, that we are making it a reality.

    • on May 31, 2011 at 8:25 am | Reply Danielle Charles

      Hi Kieron,
      Your thoughts are so beautiful, and I couldn’t agree with you more. There is so much beauty and such a potential for joy in our world, and we would do far better for ourselves if we took more time to notice and be grateful for that.

      Our blossoms got blown away by strong winds too :( Ahh well, a good lesson in the impermenance of things. Life is alwas changing and transitioning, though sometimes I wish it would linger a little longer in somethings and a little shorter in others.

      XOXO
      D


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  • The Teacup Chronicles is a seasonally minded blog about health and wellness, written by a clinical herbalist and self proclaimed kitchen witch. It contains herb-lore, delicious recipes, dietary suggestions and more to encourage vibrant health, balance and delight in every season. Grab a cup of tea, pull up a chair and join me in exploring just how gratifying and delicious cultivating good health can be.
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